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How to Develop Film at Home

Of course, digital photography is all the hype nowadays. But it does not mean that film photography has died out. It is still one of the most rewarding forms of photography. Developing film at home can be tricky but once you get the hang of the fundamentals, it becomes quite easy and even enjoyable. Keep reading if you want to learn how to develop film at home.

Essential Equipment for Developing Film at Home

Man developing film - How to develop film at home

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How to Develop Film at Home Easily

Developing the film can be confusing at first, but if you follow the correct steps, you will not only enjoy the results but also the process. 

Choosing Developer

You need to know right off the bat that choosing a developer is dependent on preference and personal taste. However, just to give you some pointers, developers are available in many forms such as liquid, powder, and even solvent. The first two are almost alike but the slight difference is that powder can be stored for longer periods than liquid. Solvents can cover a wide range of exposures as they provide fine grain. On the other hand, non-solvents provide you with more sharpness at the cost of increased grain.

Open the Film Canister

The first step of learning how to develop film at home is opening the film canister. If you have some experience with film, then you would know that film developers open the canister in darkness. Here comes the part of the changing bag. In order to open the canister without exposing it to the light, place it in the changing bag. Also, place the bottle opener, scissors, and developing tank into the changing bag. Zip the bags after placing these items. 

Now, open the canister using the bottle opener and then remove the film. After that, you need to cut off the film leader using the scissors that you already placed in the changing bag. It is the extra film at the beginning of the roll.

Load the Film for Development

Pay attention during this stage while developing the film at home. There are two steps to this stage as well. 

Firstly, place the film on the reel. There are two nubs on the reel which mark its starting point. Find these points and then try to slide them into the reel. After a few inches, twist the reel sides so that you can also place the rest of the film on the reel. The spool at the last of the reel should also be cut before pulling the end of the film on the reel.

Second, load that reel into the developing tank and make sure its center holes slide around the post of the tank. Lastly, place the funnel cap on the tank and remove it from the changing bag.

Mix the Chemicals

For this stage, all chemicals; developer, fixer and, bath, should be separately diluted using distilled water. The temperature of the water should be around 68°F. 

Adding Developer to the Film

At this stage, we start adding chemicals while learning how to develop film at home. Adding developer to the tank can produce air bubbles, simply tap on the bottom of the tank to remove them. Next, agitation techniques might be specified for your developer, do that for 30 seconds. Until the development time is completed, invert your tank every 1 minute and at the last, just pour the developer out of your tank.

Adding Stop Bath into the Tank

Again, pour the stop bath into the tank and then agitate for 30 seconds. We basically use stop bath to cancel the effects of the developer.

Adding Fixer into the Tank

This is the last chemical that you need to apply while learning how to develop film at home. Drain the stop bath before adding a fixer. Similarly, agitate it for 30 seconds. This step concludes the development of the film.

film stripes - How to develop film at home

Rinse the Film

After getting the fixer out of the tank, just rinse the film with tap water for five minutes. If you are worried about water marks, then add a wetting agent after rinsing.

Remove the Film and Dry

You can easily pull the film from the reels by opening the tank. Then, hang them using the clips to dry in a dust-free environment. 

Last Step

The above steps conclude this guide of how to develop film at home. The only thing that remains is to cut the film into smaller strips and then scan them. You can also purchase your scanner or have it done by someone else. Once they are scanned, you can get the raw files which can then be printed or edited.

Conclusion - How to Develop Film at Home

Now that you have learned how to develop film at home, the only thing that remains is to get out, gather some amazing shots on your film and try developing them yourself. Keep practicing and learning new things.

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Have a nice photoshoot! 

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